Scott and I saw two amazing things this week and I couldn’t help but draw parallels between them. We attended an 826LA benefit screening of Where the Wild Things Are and we saw Sigfried at the LA Opera.
Max wears a wolf suit; Sigfried wears a bear suit. Max bites his mother and sails off to mythical lands in search of kindred wild spirits; Sigfried kills his scheming foster father and wades through an ocean of fire to find love. I could go on.
Of course, this distinctly male hero archetype isn’t unique to these two stories. I’m tempted to launch into a whole feminist analysis of how a female figure must always be sacrificed (or sacrifice herself) in order for the male hero to succeed in his quest, but my reaction to such narratives has taken on a different kind of emotional resonance now that I have a son.
I found Where the Wild Things Are deeply sad and affecting. When Tariku lashes out, Spike Jonze’s take on Max keeps popping into my head. I look at my son and I remember how lonely and scary a place childhood was a great deal of the time. I think the movie nailed that anger and frustration, while at the same time showing the transcendent feats of imagination that can emerge as a result.
And Sigfried might simply have been the most gorgeous, visionary thing I’ve ever seen on a stage. Scott and I sat through the nearly five hours and would happily have stayed for more. We were even scheming about how we might see it again, but I think we’ll just have to wait to see the final installment of The Ring Cycle in April. The LA Opera slays. Run don’t walk.
I’m haunted by both the movie and the opera, with imagery from each superimposing itself over my daily life. Man, I love it when art does that.